No. 1 Terps women nip Clemson, 63-59 Mizrachi's points make difference against Tigers

January 21, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Correspondent

COLLEGE PARK -- If success is measured in how one performs under pressure, then Maryland women's basketball player Limor Mizrachi has already proven herself to be a success.

The 5-foot-7 sophomore guard from Givataim, Israel, was the stabilizing force in Wednesday's 67-65 upset of then-top-ranked Virginia, and last night turned out to be the critical factor in helping the Terps keep their new No. 1 ranking, as they turned back 15th-ranked Clemson, 63-59.

Mizrachi had 14 points -- 12 in the last 7 minutes, 40 seconds -- including a critical baseline jumper with 15 seconds to play -- to help give Maryland (15-1, 5-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) its victory.

The Terps, who nearly surrendered the school's first No. 1 ranking in basketball -- men's or women's -- less than 24 hours after they achieved it, called on Mizrachi to stabilize them after the Tigers (10-5, 2-4) shook them,leading by nine points with 13:05 left.

"In the second half, she was the stabilizing influence," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "I don't think anything should ever rattle her."

"I told our players that she [Mizrachi] was dodging Scud missiles this time last year," said Clemson coach Jim Davis. "There ain't no double teams or presses in the ACC that's going to faze her."

Indeed, Mizrachi, 21, a veteran of the Israeli army and an eight-year veteran of that country's national team, took control down the stretch when Maryland needed it most.

She hit two free throws with 7:40 left to pull Maryland, which had trailed 51-42 four minutes earlier, to within two at 53-51. One minute later, Mizrachi hit a baseline drive to tie the score.

With 4:50 left, Mizrachi nailed a three-pointer -- the only bonus shot she made in four attempts, to give Maryland a brief 56-55 lead.

However, Clemson's Kerry Boyatt-Hall got a putback and made a foul shot to put the Tigers back ahead 58-56.

After Clemson assistant Carey Green drew a technical foul with 1:45 left, Mizrachi made one of the two free throws, then hit another drive to put Maryland back ahead 59-58 with 1:25 left.

Senior Courtney Johnson made one of two free throws with 1:06 remaining to tie the score again, and the teams exchanged scoreless possessions before Mizrachi's drive with 15 seconds left.

Clemson senior guard Cheron Wells had a chance to tie the game on a drive down the lane with 4 seconds left, but dribbled the ball out of bounds. Maryland's Jessie Hicks

made two free throws with one second left to give the Terps their victory margin.

In the first half, the Tigers allowed Hicks three early baskets inside, then choked off the entry passes to deny the Terps an inside game.

Maryland continued to try to push the ball inside, but the Tigers defense forced 11 turnovers and kept Maryland without a basket for over seven minutes in the first half.

Offensively in the first half, Clemson freshman guard Tara Saunooke and Wells exploited Maryland on the perimeter, erupting for 18 and 10 points respectively in the half, hitting 12 of 20 shots, most out on the wings to give the Tigers a 40-34 halftime lead.

CLEMSON (10-5, 2-4) -- Johnson 2-7 1-2 5, Jackson 2-3 0-0 4, Kwange 1-4 1-2 3, Wells 7-16 1-3 15, Saunooke 8-12 2-2 20, Puckett 2-3 0-0 4, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Boyatt-Hall 1-7 4-7 6, Bryan 1-5 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-57 9-16 59.

MARYLAND (15-1, 5-0) -- Andrew 3-6 2-2 8, Lee 2-8 4-7 8, Hicks 7-13 4-6 18, Mizrachi 4-8 5-6 14, Boles 3-4 3-5 9, Colleton 0-1 2-2 2, Christy 0-1 0-0 0, Rimkus 2-5 0-0 4, Bennett 0-0 0-0 0, Panek 0-0 0-0 0, Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Camper 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 21-46 20-30 63.

Halftime--Clemson 40, Maryland 34. 3-point goals--Clemson 2-6 (Saunooke 2-5, Puckett 0-1), Maryland 1-4 (Mizrachi 1-4). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Clemson 35 (Bryan 7), Maryland 35 (Rimkus 10). Assists--Clemson 11 (Puckett 4), Maryland 15 (Lee, Boles 5). Total fouls--Clemson 21, Maryland 16.

Technical--Clemson bench. A--1,389.

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